Sunny, what are you doing after France?

Well, that is in fact a good question.

Because what I will do next is something awesome.

I have been searching for an internship to finish my studies for a while. I wanted to do it in Paris at first, I wanted to work at an HR department. Because of the language barrier that didn’t work out, which caused me to go to France for something else (a summer job). And even though I was kind of disappointed that I couldn’t do that kind of internship in France, I knew with 100% certainty that it was for a very good reason.

Which turned out to be the case.

While I was in France I was searching for an internship. I applied for a few positions, send letters to companies that interested me. I did so for companies in The Netherlands, in France and even back in Indonesia (where I totally would have gone again had I not gotten this internship).

One day, I was feeling a little dramatic. I figured I wouldn’t find anything, I was restless because my future wasn’t planned after September and I just really needed a break.

Well, I got it.

While I was at work that day and I scrolled through my Facebook timeline, I noticed an ad from a publisher that I like on Facebook. Coincidentally it was the only publisher that I like on Facebook. The ad was for an intern for their PR and marketing department. Starting in September. I got very, very excited about this. In my mind I was already writing my application letter and when I got home I typed it out in half an hour. It was the most honest letter I have ever sent in for a job, it was a great letter and I was very proud of it. So without even thinking twice about it I attached my CV to the email and sent it.

It was not even two hours later that I got a response (at 11pm!) telling me that they really liked my letter and profile and they would send me an email tomorrow to set up a time to do the interview. In that email they sounded just as excited with the prospect of hiring me as I was with the prospect of working for them!

The interview was not me trying to convince them to hire me, it was just a conversation where they told me about how they work, what I could expect and it was me trying to contain my excitement about where this was all going. In the end of the interview they said they would love to have me and that I could of course think about it. Obviously, I didn’t need to, so I immediately accepted and walked around with a smile for the rest of the week.

I am so happy about this, because this internship is exactly what I need to actually launch a career as a writer. It will give me insight into the business, it will give me connections and it will give me the knowledge to promote the books I will write, which seems the hardest part of the process to me. Even though in general I am not that much into PR and marketing, when it comes to books, I could not be more interested.

After the excitement from this news slowly faded away a bit (which does not mean it’s gone, it just means the thoughts of it don’t take up my entire day), I realized what this means. I will have to move to the capital of my home country. So I entered the jungle that is the real estate market in Amsterdam.

It took me quite some time to find a place to live in Amsterdam, but I also finally have this covered and so I’m more than ready to start this new challenge in less than a month. I just know it is exactly the right place for me and that I will learn so much in the five months they will have me for.

I’m just… so excited.






Bali’s Trick Art Museum

So, it was a while ago that I’ve been to this awesome museum and I cannot believe that I’ve withheld the pictures from you up until now. They are very cool and I really like how they turned out.

So enjoy watching my brother, his girlfriend and me doing things that look amazing, but were actually just us standing around striking up poses in a 3D museum.

How to save some energy

I found this post on one of my secret blogs, where I have posted like five posts before I gave up (wow, this blog is doing really well in comparison!) I wrote it about a year and a half ago and I thought it was still very applicable. It is one of the rules I live my life by and I guess this was written on the moment I learned about this idea, so I wanted to share it with you here as well!


I have been reading this book, written by Stephen Covey. I started a week ago and I am almost finished, but already I have integrated some of his stuff into my life. He became very famous for these 7 habits he created, that would help transform your life. I will maybe share more of this brilliant man in the future, but for now I wanted to focus on one particular thing.

A lot of people spend a lot of energy on a lot of things. Can you hear yourself or people around you say the following?

“God, the weather is terrible today. I annoys me so much when all this rain is coming down on me and I have to redo my hair when I get to work… Life sucks!?”

“The people in our government don’t know what they are doing. They are screwing everyone by increasing the taxes.”

“I am so bugged by the way my boss talks to me. Her voice is so high-pitched and every time she speaks I get goosebumps!”

These are just a few examples of things that people could say, when they are focused on the wrong circle. What circle, you might ask? Well, I’ll tell you.

According to Covey, you have two circles. The circle of concern consists of things that have an effect on you, that concern you, but that you cannot influence. Examples: the weather, other people, the government, etc. The second circle is the circle of influence, which, as you may have guessed, you can influence! This can include your life, your relationships, your job, your choices. See the picture below.

So after reading this, I started thinking about it. Two circles, one I can control, one I can’t. This sounds interesting. So that means that I don’t have to worry about or stress over the things I cannot control? Immediately I felt lighter. When I cycled through the rain the next day, people around me were complaining, and I just didn’t care. I did not want to waste energy on this thing that I obviously had no control over. It gave me this new kind of peace and already I am happy I have learned this, and, more importantly, learned to apply this.

Yesterday I had some friends over and I noticed that I was applying this theory in my conversations with them. One of my friends told me she was really trying to help another friend and it bugged her that she wouldn’t listen to her. I told her: “You can let her know how you feel and what would be the consequences if she continues her behavior, but that is all you can do. The rest is up to her and is out of your hands.” Now I am already usually a great advice giver, but this was a highlight, even for me. She agreed with me and I saw her relax a little bit with this realization. It was simply not her responsibility to change her friend’s behavior.

But let’s focus on the circle of influence as well. Because if you cannot stress about your friends’ behavior, the weather or the government, what can you stress about? Well, I am inclined to say, don’t stress at all. You are in charge of your own life. So there are always options and it is up to you to pick the right one. If you encounter something displeasing, ask yourself the following: Is this something I can change, something I have control over, or is it not? If you don’t have any influence, if it is only in you circle of concern, just let it go. It won’t help to stress, so don’t. But if it is something you can change, there are still two options. Either change it, or accept it and stop stressing. It’s actually really simple!

Now I have wondered why Covey made this distinction using circles, but when I tried to put it another way, I realized why. Just saying: there are some things you can influence, and some things you cannot influence, just sounds to damn passive. You know there are things you don’t have control over, but that doesn’t mean you cannot stress about them. Well, it does. It is a choice to stress over these things. You can cycle through the pouring rain and be annoyed the whole time. You can even be annoyed when you finally arrive at your destination and even for the rest of the day. But you can also try to let it go, to not be upset by things you cannot change. Trust me, it will save you tons of energy. And you can spend that energy thinking about things you can control.

Imagine the productivity.

Imagine the happiness…

My 10 favorite French songs

Honestly, I could start with listing all of Stromae’s songs, but first of all, he’s from Belgium, and second of all, I already knew all of his songs. But since moving to France I discovered a bunch of new ones, and here are the ones I cannot stop listening to and I am learning the lyrics to.

1. Zombie – Maître Gims

Even though a few lyrics repeat a bunch, there are a few lines that I just cannot pronounce so fast. “Retire ces chaînes, qui te freinent” (Remove the chains that hold you back).

2. Berceuse – Coeur de Pirate

First of all, love the name of the band. Heart of the pirate. And I just love her voice. This song also really has a French vibe to it, so yeah… Top 10 material right here.

3. Je Vole – Louane

Very slow, very sad. I’m pretty sure it’s about a person in their last minutes before committing suicide, while fully conscious (sans fumer, sans alcool).

4. Jour 1 – Louane

Same singer, happier song. I like the rhythm of the melody, it’s very catchy. Easy to sing along to. While reading from the lyrics website, bien sur.

5. Avenir – Louane

I know, again, same artist. But they were first in the list, so I’ve heard songs by her the most. A great song for dancing (the version I have is faster than this one on YT)!

6. Avec le temps – Isleym

I only found four songs by this artist and I really love this one. The lyrics are fast, but I can still keep up! And I like how she sounds like she’s only fourteen, which she may very well be.

7. Je t’emmenerai – Ridsa

I love his voice. And I like the lyrics. It’s never a punishment to listen to a guy singing in French.

8. Je me souviens – Ridsa

Love the feel of this song. Also, see song number 7.
“Je me dit que ça va aller” (I told myself it will be okay)

9. Pas Besoin de Toi – Joyce Jonathan

Love her voice. And the song is easy to follow.

10. Tant Pis – Joyce Jonathan

Mostly because of the title. But also because of the song.

11. Est-ce que tu m’aimes? – Maître Gims

“Do you love me? I don’t know if I love you”. Seems to sum up love pretty well.


Let me know if you found the joke.



The power of communication


There are so many. And they are the key to understanding other worlds apart from your own. I feel like I have been fluent in Dutch and English for forever, so these languages are very comforting to me. I loved learning basic Indonesian so I could get around and order food while I was there. And it felt great to understand at least a fraction of the things the locals were saying. I realized how many things you can say with just a few words. Basic words that I already knew in French, but still I didn’t feel I was capable of communicating in French at all. I’ve been in France for a few months now, and the progress is there. I remember everything I learned in high school and I understand it much better than a few months ago. And now I’m craving fluency.

I love the language so much. The melody is so nice to listen to, the words can create subtlety, they can be very specific and they can be vague. There are so many expressions and they are used to convey daily messages. So yeah, I love learning all of it.

I’ve finally reached that stage where I don’t care about the many, many, many mistakes I make when speaking French. I realize that I can say anything and the message will come across. It’s just not always grammatically correct and my pronunciation can use some (a lot of) polishing. When I just arrived in France, I was very shy about speaking French. I was ashamed of the many mistakes I made and I didn’t feel free to just speak and use the words I already knew.

And that led me to the following realization, which is how the language you are communicating in, can change your (perceived) personality.

In Dutch, I’m me. I can be quiet and just listen to everything everybody else is saying, I can be loud and make jokes, sometimes involving puns. I can speak Dutch correctly, flawlessly. I can understand everything people are saying in Dutch and it makes me perceptive to what is going on around me.

In English, I really like the me I can be. First of all, people call me Sunny in English, which is name I feel suits me better than the boring Sanne. I can understand English without any effort and I like speaking English. I’m good at English and just knowing that I can speak two languages fluently boosts my confidence. I love jokes in English, I like the day to day conversations. In English, I can be myself, with an English (well, probably more American) twist. There are the occasional difficult words that I have to look up, and doing word games in English is harder than in Dutch. But all in all, the way of communicating in English feels very familiar to me.

In French, I was a very, very shy girl. I didn’t really speak a lot in the beginning, I was just listening to the conversations around me, trying to understand it all. I wouldn’t always say it when I didn’t understand what was said. Sometimes I would think of a joke during the conversation and I wouldn’t make it, because it would take me five minutes to find the right words. And this would frustrate me to no end, because that’s not me. I like to just blurt stuff out sometimes, to be able to participate in conversation. And I’m learning to live with this frustration every day, and it’s already getting a bit better. I just have to take my time to say the stuff that would usually cost me mere seconds to communicate.

In Indonesia, speaking the language made me a bule gaul. I was already white, blond and smiling a lot. Also speaking some of the language… well it just made me marriage material. I liked my Indonesian speaking self, because I did not expect to learn anything Indonesian and by the end I actually knew quite a lot. I also really like the fact that everybody (including me) smiles in Indonesia, which made the whole experience very happy for me.

Now, when I meet somebody who speaks French and only a little bit of English, I prefer to communicate in French. That way, I have the control over the conversation. Sure, when I speak in English, I could say much more and give better and clearer insights, but the other party will probably not understand all of it. So if I do it in French, it will take me longer and it will be less specific, but at least I know that my conversational partner will understand what I’m saying.

Fluency is something that will take years, and I’m well aware. But I’ve wanted it for years, and now finally at least there is some progress.

Who knows, maybe one day I’ll type a whole blog in French. That would be a real quick way to lose all my readers, I suppose…

So to end this language story, I want to share a little thing that happened to me the other day. I go to the local market near my house twice a week and I mostly buy the same things at the same vendors. At some point they will recognize the foreigner who always buys bananas and nectarines. So now I’m greeted so kindly:

‘Ah ma chérie, comment ça va?’

‘Bonjour mon coeur!’

Also, I get a bunch of free stuff and discounts, all the time. The best was when I got two little boxes of raspberry’s for free. But then this past Wednesday my market-boyfriend topped this.

I had already paid for my vegan supplies, and had put them away. And as I was turning to walk away, he held up a bouquet of parsley in front of my face.

‘Des fleurs,’ he said, smiling.

J’adore la France.


Look at this photograph

Oh the confusion. In the title I tell you to look at a photograph and yet the post only consists of text. Guess you’ll just have to read it then. All the while having ‘Photograph’ by Nickelback playing in your mind.

I got to thinking about photographs.
Whenever I travel I take many and I love to look at them later. I like to see photographs of the travels of my friends and I like to show visuals of my travels to my friends and family.

During my time in Asia I remember somebody telling me that we are kind of weird with our picture taking. We all want to get that perfect shot of the Borobudur or a beautiful picture of a sunset. And we all think our photo is the best. We like our photos much better than those of others, even the professional photos that are circling the web. Yet if you wanted to actually show people the beauty of the sights you have been seeing, it would perhaps be better to show them the pictures that are on Google. Except maybe if you’re the one taking the pictures that appear on Google.

I keep realizing more and more that everybody has another focus in life, which also shows in their photos. Some people just take pictures of landscapes, of buildings, of inanimate objects. They like to capture the atmosphere of a place, to see it later as it was when they viewed it at that time in their life.  I like a picture of an old building as much as the next gal, but add a person to that photo and I’ll pay more attention.
I am a people photographer.

I love taking pictures of locals, living their local life, doing local things. I like to watch people (not in a creepy way) and I like to interact with people. So it makes all the sense in the world that I also like to see them in photographs. A picture of a person that is laughing can really make me happy and taking them… I simply take pride in the fact I can capture a persons happiness on camera.
And me liking photographs of people also means that I don’t mind being in the pictures, because later, I will have proof for my old forgetful self that I was there. That I lived. And that I loved it.

And yes, this also means that I like selfies.

Just a quick update on my current status, which is Sunny. Literally. I’m currently in France and it was 34 degrees with sun today. I’m getting a tan without even putting in an effort. I’m not sure if all of you knew, but I am in Lyon right now, working a summer job. Basically what I do is answer the phone when people call because they are stuck on the side of the road with car trouble. I put all their information in the computer, I call a garage to help them out and I keep them updated on the progress of their car. It’s more fun than it sounds and I like the job, although I do foresee a lot of stress when the volume of calls will be even higher in a few weeks (or even days).

I have been jogging, I have been doing yoga, I have been drinking my signature smoothies every morning, I have been going to the local market twice a week, I have been practicing my French, I have been watching reruns of Gilmore Girls (in French), I have been writing down all the crazy story ideas I have constantly flying through my mind and yet I still find time to hang out with a bunch of awesome people from Couchsurfing every week to play boardgames.

The summer will be awesome, I already know the fall is going to be awesome, and plans are always in the making to be able to keep that trend going. I have so many amazing ideas for things I can do in the future that I can hardly find the time to do them all.

But if I can even realize half of the plans that I think of, my life will still be one hell of a ride.

I will always choose happiness

Not convenience.

Not obligation.

Not expectation.

But happiness.

In my previous post (which has been one in a month and a half, I realize), I told you that I was optimistic about making the summer great at the campsite I was working at. Well, I’m a big enough person to admit that I was wrong. I am apparently not capable of doing every possible thing, and that is okay.

Because I am not capable of working 60 hours a week, I am not capable of letting other people direct my life (because I AM capable of doing this myself) and I am not capable of spending even a minimum amount of time feeling unhappy. Because feeling unhappy, made me unhappy, which made me miserable. So I got out.

I guess having long working hours is great if you love your job, if it’s your passion. I would gladly spend this amount of time writing each week. But I do not want to spend it working at a reception desk, doing the same thing day in, day out, every day (and may I add, for minimum wage).

Of course, it was not all bad. I had fun moments and I met nice people. I also had a great weekend with one of my best friends, of which pictures will be shared at some point. But I was simply not happy. And I’m not bitter about it (anymore), I’m just glad I got out. I’m proud that I took charge and made this incredibly hard decision and at the moment I’m becoming more and more myself again. Because honestly, I was lost for a second.

For those of you curious about my life (and surprisingly, I’m learning that that’s at least a few), of course, the next question is… If you’re not at the campsite anymore, where the hell are you?

Well, I’ll tell you.

Last Monday, I had a Skype conversation with a person from the ANWB (which is basically the organization you call when you have car trouble, although they do offer a lot more), to apply for a position in Lyon. Every summer they need many extra hands there, because of all the people going on holiday in France. I had looked into this job many times before, but because the work at the campsite was for a longer period of time, I chose that (not wrongly. Something about life lessons).

Of course, being the actually very capable person that I am, I was hired right away (hello ego-boost). I headed to Lyon on Saturday and started my fulltime training on Monday. Tomorrow is day 4 and I like it. It’s similar to the job I did at the ING, which I also enjoyed a lot. It’s a lot more… me. I have a studio in Lyon, which includes my own private bathtub (a.k.a. heaven) and my own kitchen. I had to spend quite some money to buy a bunch of stuff that I also had back in The Netherlands, but it was worth it. Because not only do I have a job that fits me, I also have control over my life, I have new energy to do fun things, I will learn more French than I will in an all-Dutch campsite, I will have more time to work on the things that are important to me (exercise, yoga, writing) and I can take all the baths I want.

So right now, things are good. And more posts are to come.

But besides talking about myself a lot (which I know I do a lot on this blog), I want to make this an inspirational post. Because if you are doing something right now that is making you unhappy, or that is making you feel like you’ve lost yourself… Quit. I don’t care how you do it, just make it happen. Unhappiness is just so… unnecessary. If I can do it, so can you. And if you feel like you cannot do it yourself, send me a message and I can try to help you think of reasons why you can, and you should.

Life is too damn short to be anything but happy.